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The Cost of Reducing Municipal Solid Waste

Listed author(s):
  • Palmer, Karen
  • Sigman, Hilary
  • Walls, Margaret

This paper explores public policies for reduction of municipal solid waste. We parameterize a simple model of waste disposal using supply and demand elasticities from the economics literature and 1990 prices and quantities of recyclable and recycled materials. Using this model, we calculate the waste reduction in response to three public policies: (i) deposit/ refunds, (ii) advance disposal fees, and (iii) recycling subsidies. The results illustrate the effects of the three policies on source reduction and recycling of five recyclable materials that comprise 56 percent of municipal solid waste: aluminum, glass, paper, plastic, and steel. The calculated responses provide information about the cost of reducing municipal solid waste through various policies. This analysis suggests that a 7.5 percent reduction in disposal of the solid wastes in the model might have been optimal in 1990 from a benefit-cost perspective.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095-0696(97)90986-4
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 33 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 128-150

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:33:y:1997:i:2:p:128-150
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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  1. Bingham, Tayler H. & Youngblood, Curtis E. & Cooley, Philip C., 1983. "Conditionally predictive supply elasticity estimates: Secondary materials obtained from municipal residuals," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 166-179, June.
  2. G. Strathman & Anthony M. Rufolo & Gerard C. S. Mildner, 1995. "The Demand for Solid Waste Disposal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(1), pages 57-64.
  3. Hilary A. Sigman, 1995. "A Comparison of Public Policies for Lead Recycling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 452-478, Autumn.
  4. Don Fullerton & Thomas C. Kinnaman, 1994. "Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag," CARE Working Papers 9402, The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Applied Research in Economics.
  5. Valerie Y. Suslow, 1986. "Estimating Monopoly Behavior with Competitive Recycling: An Application to Alcoa," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 389-403, Autumn.
  6. Fullerton Don & Kinnaman Thomas C., 1995. "Garbage, Recycling, and Illicit Burning or Dumping," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 78-91, July.
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